The Millennials Issues With Hillary are Mostly About Us, Not Her

Ok, I’ll admit it- I was dismayed to watch my fellow Millennials vote in the Democratic Primaries this year. I wasn’t shocked that they voted overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders, I guess I was just disappointed. I would like to believe that they were voting for Bernie, who’s progressive agenda is refreshing and worth some support, but I don’t believe that. I do believe a large chunk of them were voting against Hillary Clinton. Yes, Millennials were huge supporters of Barack Obama against Hillary in 2008, and yes they remained loyal to him in 2012. Yes, polling suggests they will even vote for Hillary overwhelmingly against Donald Trump this Fall, which is great. I’m not questioning the liberalism of my generation. I’m also not trying to deny what we heard so many of them said in the primaries. Millennials just don’t appreciate Hillary’s contributions to American life.

“When Millennials look at Hillary Clinton, we don’t see her years of being beaten down senselessly by unfair press serving a misogynistic public, but rather we see a polished politician without the people-pleasing charisma of Bill Clinton or the energizing fervor of Bernie Sanders. Hillary knows she is held to a different standard than her male counterparts and she has the scars to prove it.

Attempting to cut through the polarizing narratives that surround Hillary Clinton is incredibly difficult, especially if you’re a Millennial who is arriving to the scene 20 years late. It is made even more difficult by the fact that Hillary Clinton has nearly as many critics on the far left as she does on the far right — a unique position for any politician.”

(I’m going to leave aside the divisions in the Feminist movement over Hillary, divisions that I have no clear expertise in, to be very honest.)

My generation is so busy worrying about changing the world, making history, and purity, that we’re missing the point- Hillary Clinton is exactly the kind of person who can do the job of President well. All the things we don’t like, from her boring grit, her willingness to make deals, and her cautious nature- are traits that some of our best Presidents have had. Her willingness to evolve with the times may not be something that inspires us, but it is a trait we should actually want in a President, who will be confronted with new evidence on every issue they face.

It is true, Hillary has no authentic personality to us. She was the smart girl in college, then the Southern First Lady, the partner in the Clinton Presidency, the Hawkish U.S. Senator after 9/11, the Presidential candidate with the focus-group tested message, the globe traveling Secretary of State, and now the grandmother Presidential front-runner. Those constant re-inventions seem to leave us wanting, but re-inventions are something all of us go through during life- we’re not the same person as we were at other points in life. This is part of aging.

What we don’t like about Hillary Clinton are exactly the things that will make her a great President- her ability to take in many view points, her ability to adjust to new evidence, her willingness to make deals to reach better outcomes, her grit and toughness, and even her cautious nature- are all things that will make her better at this job. It is worth noting that at a time when Washington is broken despite President Obama’s success and considerable talents, perhaps the stuff that doesn’t excite us about Hillary Clinton is exactly what our political system needs. Our inability to accept that, as the younger generation, might say more about us than it does about her.

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